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Top Ten Ways to Add Incidental Exercise

The term incidental exercise has been thrown around a lot recently. With lots of people wanting to stay in shape but too busy to dedicate an hour a day at the gym, finding ways to work movement into your existing schedule is a brilliant idea. We thought we’d help out with that. Here are our top ten ways to add incidental exercise to your day.

1. Upgrade Your Commute

You’ve got to get to work or school somehow, so why not use that time wisely? Sure, you could chill in the car for that five-minute drive. But you could change it up and get your steps in at the same time!

Try walking to work tomorrow. You’ll arrive more awake, aware, and ready to start the day...if a little sweatier. If it’s too far to walk, break out the bike and cycle to work. It’s a great way to get your daily cardio easily.

 2. Upgrade Your Desk Setup

We all spend way too much time at our desks anyway. Why not utilize it for activity? A standing desk can help motivate you to move more, even if it doesn’t necessarily make you burn more calories on its own.

Standing while you work means you can move more. Try doing lunges at your desk between assignments or pacing to work out problems. This helps you move to help you think and may actually make you more productive!

3. Use Your Hands

Did you know that fidgeting can help you relieve stress and improve your concentration while you exercise? Studies have found that moving in little ways - tapping your fingers, moving your feet, rolling a pencil, and so on - can help you stay focused on otherwise tedious tasks.

Be aware of your surroundings, though. Fidgeting may be helping you, but it shouldn’t be hindering other people. Be sure that whatever you’re doing is quiet and unobtrusive to the people around you.

4. Care for the Stairs

It’s an age-old trick but it’s worth its weight in gold: taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way of getting more movement into your day quickly. This doesn’t even have to just apply to commuting. Try walking the stairs at the mall or while out-and-about. Explore all the floors of museums and galleries when you visit.

5. Workout Your Chores

If we’re being perfectly honest, everyone occasionally has a jam-out session while they do the housework. Now you have a good excuse to do it! Put on something fast-paced and dance around with the broom.

Belting out your favourite tunes can help you burn calories while also making your chores easier to concentrate on. It’s the same concept as fidgeting - listening to music keeps your brain occupied and makes you want to move more.

6. Get Rewarded for Getting Up

Do you know what an excellent motivator is? Prizes! There are tons of apps on the market today that can turn your daily step count into rewards. Most of them are free to download, which is amazing given that many of them offer real, physical items for a few jaunts around the block.

Plus, research shows that we do better when we’ve got specific, visible goals supported by an outside source. Having a set step goal on an app and tracking your progress day-to-day can help you see your improvement over time and want to improve in the future.

7. Walk and Talk

Have you ever gotten off of a long, involved phone call and realized you’re on the complete opposite end of the house, pacing around the kitchen? There’s actually a really cool reason behind this. It’s your brain’s way of filling in the gaps that not being face-to-face while talking creates.

Nearly everyone already does this, so choosing to actively do it is a no-brainer! Wander around your home or take your cell out on a walk while you have your work meetings or conversations. You’ll meet your step goals in no time.

8. Move While You Watch

Watching TV, YouTube, or Netflix is usually a lazy day activity, but it doesn’t have to be! Instead of sitting sedately on the couch while your show is on, try planking or doing some squats while you enjoy the drama unfolding.

You can even turn it into a game. Do a rep every time your favourite character comes into a scene, or whenever a catchphrase is said. You could also do a few jumping jacks during commercial breaks or pauses between episodes.

9. Play as a Family

Your kids are going to want to get out of the house and play. You should join them! Take your kids to the park and climb around with them instead of sitting on the bench. Go to the pool and have swimming races and water games. Even just roughhousing in the backyard can help you get moving during the day.

As an added bonus, it’ll wear your kids out completely. Hello, easy naps and bedtime!

10. Make Dinnertime Active

While UberEats and PostMates might be tempting, cooking for yourself is actually a great way of eating healthier and getting incidental exercise into your day. The activity of preparing a meal burns calories and means you’re hungrier and more ready to enjoy your food.

On top of that, it’s a good way to feel proud of what you’re eating. Everyone knows that food you make for yourself tastes ten times better.

Staying Fit and Staying Sane

Getting active doesn’t have to be a chore. Expensive gym memberships are all well and good, but if you don’t have the time or the patience to get ready, get all the way there, workout, and get back, what’s the point?

Working incidental exercise into your day is a good way to stay active on even the busiest schedule. Exercise relieves stress and improves our overall health, so getting it without the extra costs is a total score.

Try a few of these tips and see how your life can change for the better.